5 Ways to Choose a Good Password

By Cathryn Conroy

A good password is one that is easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess.

First, this is what you should never do:

  • Don't use your children's names, your birthday, your alma mater or any personal information that is easily guessed.
  • Don't use the 10 most common passwords: God, love, lust, money, private, qwerty, secret, sex, Snoopy and password.
  • Don't use words that can be found in the dictionary.
So how do you choose an effective password? Do one of these:

1. Think of a sentence that is easy for you to remember and then make your password the first letter of each word in that sentence.
Example: "The baby is due on September 30" becomes the password tbidos30

2. Choose a word or phrase you can easily remember and then insert random numbers between the letters.
Example: george870clooney539

3. Slightly change a familiar phrase by purposely misspelling it.
Example: Two tickets to paradise becomes 2Tickets2Paradiz

4. Do what you're not supposed to do: Choose your name or birthday. But instead of using the actual name or date, type it one character to the right on the keyboard.
Example: BrianJones becomes NtosmKpmrd

5. The best password, although it can be hard to remember, is one that is just random characters.
Example: rj9kx3hla

Important advice:

  • No password is totally secure. Every password can be cracked. The best you can do is to make it difficult for someone to figure it out.
  • The worst password? That's the one you forgot!
  • Change your password often.
  • The more important the password, the more frequently you should change it.
  • Choose a long password. The longer it is, the harder it is to guess.
  • If you must write down your password, hide the paper.
  • Never give your password to anyone for any reason, and if you do, change it immediately.
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